These Windows 10 Features Are Constantly Changing
Unlike previous Windows versions, Windows 10 regularly changes thanks to major updates. The Creators Update added lots of new goodies, and it won’t be the last big update we see in 2017.
For backward compatibility, Windows holds several legacy features that still need support . But since the release of Windows 10, many other features have evolved and improved significantly. They’re not done changing yet, however.
Here are five major Windows features that Microsoft is still working on today.
1. Microsoft Edge
Microsoft hoped to capture those coming to Windows 10 with a fresh new browser. Edge, it claimed, was built for the modern web and held an emphasis on simplicity and useful features. While Edge is certainly better than its predecessor internet Explorer, it’s still maturing into a browser you’ll want to use all the time.
In the past few major Windows 10 updates, Microsoft Edge gained support for extensions , tab management features, and better annotation tools. Despite this, it’s still lacking in customization and quality-of-life options .
We’ve taken a look at every Edge extension , and while the library holds several big names, it pales in comparison to Chrome or Firefox.
Certainly, there are some good reasons for using Edge . In the future, we hope Microsoft will greatly expand the extension library, add deep tweaking for power users, and maybe throw in a few surprises to set Edge apart. For now, Edge is usable, but it doesn’t offer enough to earn the coveted default browser place.
2. The Windows Store
The Windows Store should have been a huge breakthrough for the Windows ecosystem. For years, Windows was the only major operating system (OS) that didn’t have a centralized place for downloading apps. Linux and macOS, along with Android and iOS, all have a dedicated market for finding and installing apps. On Windows, you could only download them directly from developer websites or on third-party download sites, which can be dangerous .
Thankfully, the situation is a lot better than it once was. A search for a common app like VLC no longer brings up a dozen counterfeits looking for a quick buck.
However, for the average user, there isn’t much reason to browse the Windows Store. Why download the Store apps for Spotify, Instagram, Inkscape, or Newegg when you can download the normal desktop versions or use their web versions? Most people don’t even know that popular apps are in the Store .
In the future, the Windows Store should garner support from more developers to make it the standard for downloading Windows software. Windows veterans setting up a new PC are used to download the desktop versions of programs — making Store apps more attractive could change that.
Notably, the new Windows 10 S restricts users to only using apps from the Windows Store. Users running that version of the OS can’t use traditional desktop tools. Hopefully, this results in better Store apps for everyone.
3. The Settings App
We’ve discussed before how Microsoft is killing off the old Control Panel in favor of the Settings app. With every update to Windows 10, options once found in the Control Panel dissolve into Settings . For instance, clicking the option to change your Windows theme in Settings used to pop open a Control Panel entry straight out of Windows 7. But now, this preference is all handled in Settings.
For the average user, this is a great change that makes Windows more user-friendly . Placing the most common options in the colorful and easy-to-navigate Settings app and keeping the power user tools in the Control Panel is a sensible separation.
In the future, we might see a complete teardown of the Control Panel with a full migration to Settings. However, it’s more likely that the Control Panel will evolve to only contain features that normal user don’t care about, such as File Explorer Options. Removing duplicate entries from the Control Panel, like Language, will make both menus unique and reduce clutter.
Microsoft’s OneDrive, originally known as SkyDrive, has matured from a basic Dropbox competitor to a key part of Windows 10. Back when it was introduced as an optional download for Windows 7, SkyDrive was functional but didn’t pack many features. Plus, its web client was pretty lousy.
That’s not the case with OneDrive. By signing in with a Microsoft account , you get access to 5GB of free space with more available for purchase. Of course, OneDrive’s core feature is giving you an easy way to sync your files between devices. But it also offers power tools like automatically backing up photos, fetching your PC files remotely, and even letting you work on Office documents at the same time as someone else.
Unfortunately, Microsoft removed one of the best parts of OneDrive — Smart Files — in Windows 10. But until the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, which we expect to introduce OneDrive Files On-Demand (a Smart Files replacement), you can get them back with a bit of work. Add in backing up your Windows settings, powerful sharing options, and great apps on every platform, and it’s easy to see OneDrive has become a complete cloud storage solution. It gets even better the more Microsoft services you use. And if you don’t like it for some reason, Microsoft made it easy to remove in the Creators Update.
Note that OneDrive isn’t a proper backup solution since it syncs all changes to the cloud — intentional or not. But it can serve as a layer in your data protection plan. In the future, Microsoft could include a backup utility in OneDrive to make it a built-in backup solution for Windows users. Google has done something similar with Drive .
Perhaps the feature of Windows 10 that’s received the most tweaking since release, is Cortana. Every major update has seen the virtual assistant become smarter and gain lots of extra functionality. Far from just asking simple questions, Cortana can control Windows settings and now even integrates into Microsoft Edge to help save you money . She’s also able to respond to a ton of different queries , and Cortana even integrates into some apps .
Starting with the Creators Update, Cortana is there to help new users set up their PC. Working with reminders and requests, like playing music, are more reliable and have extra functionality. Windows 10’s search is already awesome, but as Cortana grows she offers so many more reasons to use her. You can even add the Cortana app to your phone and sync notifications .
There’s no telling how much Cortana will improve in the near future. We’re sure that Microsoft will continue to add new features, enhancements to what’s already there, and more integrations.
What Other Windows Features Remain Unfinished?
These five big features of Windows 10 show that Microsoft isn’t stuck in the past or sitting contently. While some ancient Windows features haven’t changed in years , Microsoft is making other improvements all the time as Windows evolves. It’s an exciting time for Windows users, as we’ll certainly see even more progress before the year ends.
For less obvious changes, check out the best new Windows 10 features you may have missed .
Which Windows 10 features have you noticed improvements in? What kind of updates would you like to see for the above tools? Tell us your thoughts down in the comments!